Refugees Stuck On “No Man’s Land”


More than hundreds of refugees are currently stuck on the Hungarian-Serbian border which is also known as “no man’s land”. An area which is not Serbian Territory, which Hungarian authorities have not administered.

The crisis on the border occurs days after Hungary had introduced stricter border controls that allow police to effectively deport refugees found in Hungarian territory.

“The goal of the new border protection system introduced along the Hungarian-Serbian and Hungarian-Croatian borders on Tuesday is to prevent illegal immigrants from being in Hungary, but to allow those who wish to submit requests for asylum,” Gyorgy Bakondi, chief adviser on homeland security to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Recently Balint Bardi an independent Hungarian journalist told Al Jazeera that “the conditions are unacceptable here”

Additionally Bardi mentioned that there is a significant amount of people queued waiting for entry to the transit zone to request asylum, suggesting that at least 500 people were stuck in two camps on the border.

A razor-wire border fence which is built within Hungarian territory has made it nearly impossible for those who intend to breach the fence – which spans the length of the 175km border with Serbia – and enter Hungary.

However at least 151 people were caught within the 8km area and returned to Serbia on Tuesday morning.

While the Hungarian government formally considers asylum claims at transit centres on the border, applicants are overwhelmingly rejected.

Nora Koves a human rights expert from the Budapest-based Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute revealed that of the more than 18,000 asylum applications in Hungary, only 76 people were given refugee status between January and May of this year.

“The government has absolutely built a legal fence in addition to the physical fence on the border,” she told Al Jazeera, explaining that authorities accept only 15 asylum applications a day.

“The process is very slow, and there is basically no chance to get asylum.” added Nora Koves.